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Daily omega-3 fatty acid (FA) supplementation, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA,1200 mgs) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 800 mgs), offered no protection from recurrent preterm delivery in a randomized placebo-controlled trial of high risk women receiving weekly 17 alpha-hydroxyprogesterone caproate. Increased levels of EPA and DHA can reduce the production of the potent 2-series prostaglandins derived from arachidonic acid (AA). We conducted this analysis to determine if the supplement altered plasma levels of EPA, DHA or AA.
Blood was collected at enrollment (16-21 weeks' gestation) and again at 25-28 weeks' gestation. Plasma was separated, snap frozen and stored at - 70 degrees at a central laboratory until FA determination by gas chromatography. Results were reported as percent of total FA. Wilcoxon test was used to compare the mean change (level at 25-28 weeks minus level at enrollment) in FA between the omega-3 and placebo groups.
Of 852 primary study participants, 512 (261 in the omega-3 group and 251 in the placebo group) had results of FA analysis from both enrollment and 25-28 weeks. The mean change in level of EPA, DHA and AA were significantly different between the omega-3 and placebo groups. (Figure)
Omega-3 supplementation raised EPA and DHA and lowered AA levels in pregnancy.